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Considerations When Divorcing Later in Life

Brazil Clark, PLLC Feb. 10, 2022

An increasing number of older couples are seeking a divorce later in life. While the reasons people choose to file for divorce after a long-term marriage vary from one couple to another, there are several challenges inherent in any “gray divorce.” The term “gray” or “silver” divorce refers to the dissolution of marriage undertaken by an older couple.

Getting a divorce is always an emotionally taxing experience, especially when you and your spouse have been married for a long time. However, late-in-life divorces involve several special considerations older couples must make before filing for divorce. If you are thinking about getting a divorce later in life, contact a divorce attorney at Brazil Clark, PLLC, to help you navigate the divorce process. Attorney Frank Brazil handles family matters involving individuals of all ages in Nashville, Tennessee, and throughout Rutherford County.

Why Do People Divorce Later in Life?

Long-term marriages often involve special issues that are not known to younger people. However, some of the reasons older people choose to divorce later in life do not differ from divorces between younger individuals. Some of the most common reasons for gray divorce include:

  1. Drastic changes in the couple’s life when children leave the nest. Many couples have trouble coping with the empty nest after children become adults and move out. When children leave the nest, the married couple can experience drastic life changes and may not remember the reasons why they got married in the first place.

  2. Midlife crisis. As people start to deal with the problems of getting older, they are more likely to become prisoners of midlife crises. Coping with a midlife crisis can take a toll on every aspect of the person’s life, including their marriage.

  3. Longer life expectancy. As life expectancy is much higher today than for previous generations, people who grow older have more time to grow apart and are more likely to reconsider their options later in life. Older people who are not happy in their marriage may think that they still have plenty of time for a new romantic relationship or marriage.

  4. Infidelity. Unfaithfulness among older couples is not an uncommon occurrence. An older married individual is just as likely to be cheated on as their younger counterpart. In fact, technological advancements and the wide selection of dating sites and apps make it much easier for people to satisfy their desires and needs outside the marriage.

  5. Financial issues or differences. When spouses have differences regarding finances or struggle with financial problems, it can eventually lead to the breakdown of their marriage. A married couple could end up deep in debt, causing a great deal of stress and increasing the likelihood of marriage-related problems.

Regardless of the specific circumstances of the divorce, there are many things to consider when seeking a divorce after a long-term marriage. Older individuals should reach out to a family law attorney to explore and prepare for the potential challenges of a late-life divorce.

Things to Consider in a Late-Life Divorce

No matter why older couples are seeking a late-life divorce, they are likely to encounter a number of challenges during the process. As a rule of thumb, the longer the marriage lasted, the more complicated the divorce can be. Some of the things to consider when seeking a gray divorce include:

  • Determining alimony. Determining the appropriate duration and amount of alimony after a long-term marriage can be a complicated matter. Ending a long-term marriage often necessitates permanent alimony.

  • Dividing assets. The division of marital assets is often a hotly-contested issue in any divorce. However, the longer the marriage lasts, the more difficult it can be to identify and prove separate property.

  • Identifying inheritances. While the law treats inheritances received before and during the marriage as the spouse’s separate property that is not subject to division, inheritances often become commingled in long-term marriages. When inheritance is mixed with marital property, it can be difficult to trace the funds back to inheritance.

  • Collecting social security benefits. Many people who divorce later in life may qualify for benefits based on their spouse’s employment history. However, determining social security benefits after a long-term marriage can become a time-consuming issue.

  • Dividing pension plans and retirement accounts. Retirement accounts are subject to equitable division in a divorce. Pension plans and retirement accounts are critical assets in any late-in-life divorce. Older individuals need to protect their pensions plans and retirement assets because their spouse may be entitled to a significant portion of these assets.

How Brazil Clark, PLLC Can Help
When You Divorce Later in Life

The emotional turmoil of going through a divorce can take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being—especially when divorcing later in life. Seeking a divorce after a long-term marriage involves many legal nuances and challenges. The divorce attorneys at Brazil Clark, PLLC, are prepared to guide you through your divorce regardless of how long you and your spouse were married. Reach out to their law office in Nashville, Tennessee, to get a case review.